Everything You Need To Know About The Big ‘Nashville’ Twist (Even If You Stopped Watching)

Nashville spoilers ahead, obviously.

If you happened to pop on Facebook or Twitter this morning, chances are at least one Nashville fan in your life was devastated over the turn of events of Thursday night’s episode. Yes, Connie Britton, who starred as country music singer Rayna Jaymes — old guard to the rising star of Juliette Barne (Hayden Panettiere) — has been killed off.

This move was especially surprising to fans given that the series was recently resuscitated for a fifth season by CMT after ending its run on ABC last year, and for all intents and purposes Britton was said to be locked in for season five. Likewise, the demise of Rayna Jaymes was an unexpected plot twist, as her character spent last week’s episode being held hostage at knife-point by a crazed stalker, before she was involved in a serious car crash after being finally rescued by police.

Rayna survived the crash and was taken to the hospital in the beginning of this week’s episode, where she underwent a subsequent four hour emergency surgery to fix her shattered pelvis. And for a moment, everything seemed like it was going to be okay. But then! Fractured bone marrow tissue somehow leaked into her blood system and her organs failed and that was the end of that. Also, Carla Gugino guest-starred as Rayna’s dead mother who appeared to her in a morphine-induced vision; and Juliette, who just happened to be in the same hospital with an injured leg. was miraculously able to walk again to say goodbye to her mentor. As you can imagine it was all very sad and dramatic.

Fans who might be praying for some kind of 11th hour reprieve are sadly shit out of luck. While Britton is set to appear in a few flashbacks, she gave a subsequent interview to Entertainment Weekly in which she made it abundantly clear that her character is, in fact, dead. The good news is that this leaves her open to work with Ryan Murphy on any one of his many, many upcoming projects (having already appeared on the first seasons of American Horror Story and American Crime Story), which she says she’s “very open to.” But that is likely little consolation to fans who expressed their outpouring of grief on Twitter.

While Britton may or may not have been too big a fish for CMT’s tiny pond, she still took the time to express heartfelt thanks to fans and creators of the show on Instagram as her final bow.